Exterior PVC Trim: Soffits, Fascias, and Rakes
In this episode of Shop Class, builder Ben Bogie shares tips for getting tight joints, for cutting PVC trim with standard carpentry tools, and for keeping your job site clean when installing cellular-PVC trim.
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I start off most trim jobs by doing my rakes, fascias, and soffits. This is generally out of a need for scheduling the project, because as soon as I have rakes and fascias done I can call the roofers in to do their work. The soffit is made by ripping pieces out of a four by eight sheet of half inch PVC. I let my soffit come past my framing by about a quarter of an inch so that it locks into a groove routed into the back of the fascia so that any expansion and contraction across the width of the soffit material it’s going to be taken up inside of this groove.
You can work with your standard woodworking tools when cutting the parts you need out of the 4×8 PVC sheets. I like to break it down using a track saw, but any general woodworking tools–routers, miter saws, table saws–work just as well on this material. It does create a lot of dust that’s difficult to clean up, so dust collectors, vacuums, and even anti static laundry spray are helpful to keep you and the job site clean.
I cut the rabbets along the back sides of my rakes and fascias with a simple half inch router bit using an edge guide on the router. For assembly, I typically glue all of my miters and use 18 gauge stainless or hot dip galvanized brads to get the joints together, and come back with cortex screws and do the final fastening after the glue is set.